Every election comes with its own challenges, and political players are busy oiling their political machinery towards the November 11, 2023 Kogi State gubernatorial election.
Several candidates have emerged from various primaries across the 18 political parties that will participate in the said election. Elections in Kogi State have a way of entertaining Nigeria’s political spectators with its different dramas like a soap opera with several episodes.
As we move towards the election, so many names and slogans are being brandished like Enemunee, Ebigo and Awa lokan, at the detriment of good governance that could guarantee a better standard of living, good road network, provision of basic medical supplies to our hospitals, efficient security, prudent and judicious use of tax payer’s hard earned money, etc.
Politics is about struggling to capture power and the big wigs are doing every thing for that leather upholstery seat in Lugard House, which color we can’t recollect.
The aftermath of the “Abracadabra” primaries resulted in the king maker of Kogi rulling house selecting his first cousin as the heir to the throne in Lugard House, we don’t need a DNA test or to assemble at the village square to listen to tales by moonlight from a grey-haired grandfather for that.
Nobody, can lay claim to having the best brain, hence the rulling party couldn’t be fair enough to see Kogi West worthy of the tickect to that sacred seat at Lugard House, or is it a taboo? for an Okun/Lokoja/Koto man to access Lugard seat through the ballot. Lord Lugard must be hiding something from Kogi West candidates; irrespective of the yard stick or parameters used, there must be competent and knowledgeable sons and daughters of this extraction in every ward in Kogi West.
It therefore behoves on the Okun elite (OTT Association) to throw their weight behind a competent, capable, experienced and widely popular Ane’lagala candidate for the November 11 election. This will be a political deposit and collateral for the future.
Politics is a game of numbers where the majority have their way and minority have their say. Politicians understand that an election is not won based on one’s sole strength, one needs the support of other groups, regions and ethnic groups, l am being mindful not to play the devil’s advocate.
Going by data from the website of the National Bureau of Statistics, Kogi State has a population of 4.5 million people with several ethnic groups comprising Bassa, Lokoja/Oworo, Ogorimagongo, Kakanda and the lgala’s with a population of two million. The Ebiras have a population close to a million and the Okuns with a population just above a million.
This piece is a political x-ray of Kogi politics and not about geography and demography of the Confluence state that has almost turned to a conflict state due to the power struggle for Lugard House.
The arithmetic equation and formular of Kogi State has placed the Ane’lagala at an advantage with their strong population of voters
Kogi West presents strong contenders in a cosmopolitan space like Kogi, with the presence of the likes of Dino Melaye, Leke Abejide and Olayinka Braimoh. Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be the most popular amongst these candidates for the race to Lugard House.
It’s on record that since the emergence of Dino as the flag bearer of his party, members of his party have been deserting, leaving in droves to other parties; “jumpology” as we say on the streets. His candidacy has further eroded the skeletal membership of his party especially members of his immediate Senatorial zone, with most of them queuing to take pictures and appointments to prove their departure. Only a few politicians can afford to be in opposition for another eight years.
Hon Leke Abejide popular called Elder Leke of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) might present a Peter Obi scenario as votes from his Okun stronghold might not be enough to guarantee him victory. And picking a running mate from lgalaland would not guarantee him the needed vote for Lugard House. In the Obi/Datti combination where Datti was a good and perfect choice for Obi, but did it bring a strong political following from the north like a Kwankwaso would have? Would Ane’lgalas be ready to sacrifice their political ambition as a deputy governor, considering that the central is a no go area with a sole candidate and a block vote for the ruling party’s anointed one.
At this political bus stop, that the Ane’lagala find themselves, it reminds of the need for them to do a soul searching to close rank and go for unity of purpose, not for the benefit of the lgala kingdom alone but for the collective good of the entire Kogi State.
The November 11 governorship election in the state is a contest between majority interest versus family/self interest. Many consider it a chance to set the state free from the anguish and pain that has engulfed it for the past eight years, not to go through another term of pain and stipend as take home pay.
The forthcoming election is shaping out into a full blown ethnic contest which ordinarily shouldn’t be. At this junction, many recall the Ane’lagala son, Dr Steven Omakoji Achema who made the sacrifice to put majority interest above his personal interest, just for the unity of the Ane’lgala. But then, should one preach or fly the kite of ethnic politics in a cosmopolitan society like Kogi State? where ethnic agenda rents the air from all nooks and crannies of the Confluence state.
But he who must come to justice must come with clean hands. Let’s ask ourselves in Kogi; looking at the primaries conducted across most parties, do they give room for fairness and equity? can it pass the justice test? Let those who hide under the tent of power to undermine the parties’ primary electioneering process answer.
Let them search and challenge their soul if their reputation can recognize their character if they meet in the dark. Though karma has a way of paying them back, they should ask Atiku, Okorocha and his in-law and even Matawale who was hell bent in removing and impeaching his deputy despite the handwriting on the wall. Backing a General’s son is like toying with the political will of the Ane’lgala in Kogi State with strong political strength.
On which way forward, towards a better governed Kogi State compared to what obtains now, people in the state have mixed feelings as to who to support, as Kogites can not take the risk of another eight years of mediocre performance. The time to start collating ideas, closing ranks, lobbying, making realignments is now. There has to be a conversation for cooperation of all candidates from the lgala axis to seek the support of the West.
This piece is to arouse the political conciousness and realities on ground in Kogi state.
What keeps many going on issues concerning Kogi is hope, otherwise many would JAPA or denounce their Identity and Kogi origin status.
The elites with proven integrity from Igala land should assemble all Ane’lgala candidates for proper, sincere profiling of what any candidate from the Eastern zone has to offer that is better than others, to do a litmus test of their popularity, chances, capacity and competency to deliver, leadership qualities to unite the entire Kogi State and to govern, all these must be the criteria that will guarantee other ethnic groups queuing behind one of Omaye.
This November 11 election will further test and will go a long way to prove their numerical strength as the zone with the strongest political will.
All and sundry of igala extraction should come forward with their voter’s card to freely give their mandate to the best among themselves, this is the time their Ane’lgala DNA would be tested at the ballot.
In a free and fair poll, in the face of current BVAS, unlike the 2019 election, cooperation and unity of purpose will bring out resounding victory.
This contest is a must win in the good interest of the majority, no one can lay claim or be more Kogite than the rest of us all, the Lugard House seat is not a monarchy or a family clan heritage, all Kogites both minorities and the majority are eligible to aspires for the highest seat in the land.
For Ane’lgalas to come out victorious come November 11, they need the support of politicians and youths other zones, from the west and central who are on the side of fairness and equity and are ready to work and help actualise the mandate of the Eastern candidate, provided they unite.
There are those that have gone openly to tender their resignations from their party not excluding majority of those that have taken pictures and handshakes in exchange for envelopes. The jamboree is just for survival, as deep down in their soul they know whom they will support.
The Ane’lgala must fish out mischief makers, moles and spies among themselves, who are on a mission to undermine the collective efforts, not forgetting those who have made themselves known openly as tools for nefarious activities, with their unprintable threats, the untrained men who carry arms, who are hell bent on doing the bidding of their pay master.
The coming election is not do or die issue, hence we look forward to a seamless transition to another government in Kogi State.
The Ane’lgalas must handle it with utmost unprecedented political maturity to support the most popular acceptable candidate among themselves. Precedents have been layed by our late heros, the likes of Achema, Audu, AT Ahmed, Okino, Awoniyi, Olorunfemi and Daniyan, that unity works.
For Ane’lgala to achieve victory come November 11 they must come together with a strong bond of Omaye, doing otherwise would be like sky-diving without a parachute. History will be kind to them if they success via unity.
By Bright Olushina